By: Joel Broida
Coach Mike MacIntyre and his Buffs know the events of this last week are “bigger than a football game.” (CUBuffs.com)
(Boulder, Colo.) – Athletic department officials from the University of Colorado and Fresno State University will confer soon about rescheduling the schools’ football game, CU Athletic Director Rick George said Friday.
Speaking at an on-campus news conference about two hours after the decision was made to postpone Saturday’s game at Folsom Field, George indicated there had been no preliminary makeup dates targeted as of yet.
“Our first priority was to get through this decision . . . we’ve agreed to talk over the next several days,” said George, adding that Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro and Athletic Director Thomas Boeh were prepared to fly to Boulder and lend whatever help they could in the wake of the devastating floods in Boulder County.
The CU football team has two open dates this season – the first on Saturday, Sept. 21, the second on Saturday, Oct. 19. Fresno State has open dates on Saturday, Oct. 12, and Saturday, Nov. 16. Both teams open conference play later this month – CU at Oregon State in its Pac-12 opener on Saturday, Sept. 28, and Fresno State against Boise State on Friday, Oct. 20.
The Buffs’ final regular-season game is Saturday, Nov. 30, at Utah, while the Bulldogs close their regular season on Friday, Nov. 29 at San Jose State. The Pac-12 championship game is scheduled on Saturday, Dec. 7 (site TBD).
CU Chancellor Phil DiStefano said the decision to postpone Saturday’s game went well beyond the scope of athletics, with Boulder’s already stretched resources factoring heavily. He said the Boulder Police Department usually allocates about 60 to 70 members of its force to work on CU home game Saturdays. In light of Boulder’s widespread flood plight, “It would be difficult to get that number of officers for the game,” DiStefano added.
DiStefano, George and coach Mike MacIntyre addressed CU’s players before the postponement was announced. DiStefano said he was “proud” of the players’ reaction: “They understood that we put the community and the state of Colorado first.”
George said the decision to postpone Saturday’s game took into account the transportation of the teams, fans and alumni traveling to the game, as well as the strain put on Boulder’s resources.
“It was the entirety of it all,” George noted. “There was collaboration of everyone at the table . . . at the end of the day, the chancellor, coach MacIntyre and I were all on the same page.”
Said MacIntyre: “This is bigger than a football game. It’s a great life lesson for these young people (players) . . . they’ll bounce back from and be ready to go whenever we play next.”
MacIntyre said the homes or apartments of six of his players had been impacted by the flooding on campus and they were moved to a hotel. He also said with next week’s practice schedule loosened by the upcoming open Saturday (Sept. 21), his players would help in what promises to be a massive cleanup operation in Boulder.
“It could be Monday or Tuesday or whenever. But we’ve got some big strong kids who can help some people out,” said MacIntyre, who called floods of the type Boulder experienced “a life-changing event.”
The Buffs’ practice schedule for the upcoming was to be firmed up in a football staff meeting following Friday’s news conference. The players most likely will be given Saturday, Sunday and Monday off – their first extended break since beginning preseason camp on Aug. 6.
Next week’s practices likely will be conducted at Kittredge Field rather than CU’s practice fields north of the Dal Ward Athletic Center that are near Boulder Creek. The Buffs worked on Kittredge toward the end of this week when Boulder Creek first threatened to overflow.
When practice resumes, MacIntyre said, “Our kids will respond and our staff will have a plan . . . we’ll keep the speed of the game going.”